My Chemical Romance Band's rock anthems are just abundant enough

April 1, 2011 

Excess is a tricky goal in rock music. Too much abundance can smother the music; not enough can make a band look flimsy or half-hearted.

Like a lot of bands from New Jersey, My Chemical Romance thinks big. During its current tour, it uncorks a hail of big, beefy, wide-mouth, super-sized and fruity rock anthems upon crowds, and in the process, finds that nexus where too much is just enough.

MCR is led by the campy and prancey Gerard Way, whose hair is now platinum orange. Throughout the band’s 75-minute set, he keeps his fawning audience in his rock-star sway.

If his mannerisms give your stomach the squirms, you should see the far-away-eyes he gets from many women in the crowd (and some men, too, no doubt). Not all charisma is good charisma, but any is better than none.

The band’s new release is “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” an album with a narrative theme and the follow-up to the extravagant rock opera “The Black Parade,” released in 2006.

They are opening with one of those new tracks, the speedy rocker “Na Na Na,” and the crowds are joining in. They follow that with something older, “Thank You for the Venom,” from “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,” then another new one, “Planetary (Go!).”

That one rides a brash disco beat that evokes the sound of the Scissor Sisters, another band that thinks restraint is a sin.

As he did with the “Black Parade” tour, James Dewees, a member of the Get Up Kids, has joined MCR as its touring keyboardist and background vocalist, adding more heft to a group that thinks as large as bands like Muse, Queen, the Killers and Smashing Pumpkins.

A few songs are inflaming crowds: “Welcome to the Black Parade,” “Teenagers” and “Helena (So Long Good Night).” Before the closer, the U2-ish anthem “The Kids From Yesterday,” Way is promising fans a longer return visit in 2011. Don’t be surprised if it’s in bigger venues – they are playing clubs this time around.

Here’s the set list from their recent stop in Kansas City: Na Na Na; Thank You for the Venom; Planetary (Go!); I’m Not Okay (I Promise); You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison; Sing; House of Wolves; The Only Hope for Me Is You; Welcome to the Black Parade; Teenagers; Wait Forever; Helena (So Long and Good Night). Encore: Cancer; The Kids From Yesterday.

My Chemical Romance

Where: Showbox Sodo, Seattle

When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $35

More information: www.ticketmaster.com

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